Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The only good thing about the Escapist has this to say:

Gaming could be one of the most exciting new forms of storytelling in all media but you're all cancelling Pride & Prejudice to show the Friday night football. It's like being stuck at some excruciating wedding reception with a lot of extremely drunk and raucous relatives who are trying to get you to join in the conga. I do not have the same concepts of fun as you. I would not have a good time if I just let my hair down. Having to share physical space with squawking maiden aunts who still forward lolcats to each other makes me want to spit up my kidneys. Now bugger off and leave me to my cake.

The whole post here. He's just specifically talking about stories in gaming but he could be talking about a lot of aspects of gaming.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

To Do

We were discussing games we were playing the other day and as it transpired, neither of us had been playing games for 'fun' recently. Richie had been grinding a stupid achievement in Last Remnant and I'd been playing through Tatsunoko vs Capcom to get third and fourth costumes for characters I will never ever use.

Also, some of the most vivid memories I have of games is ridiculous repetitive nonsense.

I remember running in and out of the entrance to the Gold Saucer in Final Fantasy VII to a guy who trades one form of virtual money into another. Even worse was watching a friend dodge lightning bolts in Final Fantasy X. Capcom also brings on the pain in most of their titles, unlocking Tofu in Resident Evil 2 and getting the rocket launcher in Resident Evil. Me and my famly also spent hours and hours in the original Tomb Raider trying to get this medipack. Turns out it was 'unreachable'.

But I guess the question is, why do we do it? Are we having fun? Richie and I decided that no. No we weren't having fun. I also have issues because I like to complete a game before I play it through for fun or casually. This is my problem, my burden but it does affect how I play games. I can't play Resident Evil 4 anymore because in the back of my mind I have that niggly feeling that I haven't unlocked the hand cannon and I am thus wasting game time on Resident Evil 4 because it isn't in a productive* direction.

Recently achievements tap into this aspect of gaming too. Not all achievements are bad either. I say yay to gnomes and palaeontologists. Not so much for 2047. So tell us reader(?) why do you do it?

* We'd like to point out that the productiveness of games could be contested but also that we don't need special pleading to counter-argue citing developers who now own their own ferrari and/or millions of dollars.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Unlockable Soundtracks to Games

Please? As much as I'd love to buy one of the four OS CDs that were released in Japan it would be really nice if I could just get them off the disc. They are on the disc after all. Great thanks.

IN RELATED NEWS. Sound tests. WTF? I do want to listen to the theme from Orbital Ring Systems Cargo Bay, a catchy little ditty from Tatsunoko vs Capcom but I had to steal music of the internet to make it happen. I would never ever have call to listen to the 34 different grunts that Alex makes in the game but sure, that's what you can do in the gallery.

It makes no sense.

Understanding Gamerish- Scores out of ten

Round 2 of understanding gamerish (round one here). Today we take on understanding scores out of ten. Many gamers lack a coherent framework for prolonged discussion of merits and downsides of commercial products. Combined with attention spans shortened by obligate internet use means that reviewers often use a simple one to ten scale, often at the bottom of a review to help the pressed for time gamers decide which game they should chip, rip or steal next. Unfortunately though rather than use the X/X system as a rough indicator of quality many gamers endlessly squabble over scores of their favourite games neglecting to notice that scores are merely one person's take on a game and that the reviewer's employer is probably a more important factor on what score that game gets than actual quality. Furthermore, many assume the one to ten scale to be a normal scale but it's actual more complicated than that.

Here's how the gaming scale works.

0- Not often used at all even for games that are just broken or don't work. If you went to see a film and the film couldn't be projected at the time you bought a ticket you would probably rate it 0 out of ten. In gaming such broken products normally get a 5.
1- A comedy score! Makes a lot of appearances around the beginning of April.
2-6 Here be broken, half finished, glitchy, 'it'll be fixed by the next patch' games.
7- Most games are here. When in doubt give it a seven. Playable but not amazing? Whack a seven on it. Only had three hours to review a ten hour game? Whack a seven on it. Shallow but fun with other people? Give it a seven. A decent game but you weren't sent a free copy? That's a seven out of ten. 'Games' which are actually just interactive story books but pleasant nonetheless? 70%. In gaming, seven could mean 4-8 on a normal scale.
8- An otherwise good game ruined by one repetitive section- often a driving section or a tricky boss fight preceded by a lenghty unskippable cutscene.
9 (PC Games)- Something by Valve.
9 (Wii)- Any Zelda or Mario game unless you are the Official nintendo Magazine in which case any Nintendo game.
9 (Xbox 360)- A brown grey first person shooter with a piss poor storyline and offesnive online play.
9 (PlayStation 3)- Any exclusive, part exclusive or time exclusive game. Please, please buy PS3 games please.
10- Never used.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The People's Data- The Games

I don't know how many other people spend a lot of time on the Wii's Nintendo Channel but it is a mine of useful information. Aside from hit and miss video uploads and video series that don't go beyond one or two videos, you can view records for virtually every Wii game released, including reviews by the people who play them. Players not only review the games they play (using a sliding scale) but they rate whether they think hardcore or casual gamers would appreciate the title and whether the game is best played alone or with friends. The number of times played and the average play time are also recorded.

The Games Anyone can view this data by going to the Nintendo Channel and seeing All Recommendations. Unfortunately, the list that is brought up doesn't contain all reviewed titles and from what I can work out there may be some regional filtering. I can't work out why this is, the legend to the list describes the games as those currently available. However, No More Heroes has been rated Bronze but isn't found on that list. Regardless, these are the games I'm going to be using over the next few posts. Here are all the games that are rated Platinum (95-100%), Gold (90-95%), Silver (85-90%) and Bronze (80-85%).

Platinum- Metroid Prime Trilogy.
Gold - Donkey Kong Country Returns, Goldeneye, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Monster Hunter Tri, New Super Mario Brothers Wii, Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask, World of Goo, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Okami, Mario Kart Wii, Super Metroid, Resident Evil 4 Wii, Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean.
Silver- Sonic Colours, Wii Party, Metroid Other M, LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4, Red Steel 2, Tatsunoko vs Capcom, BBC iPlayer, Wii Fit Plus, Wii Sports Resort, Punch Out, Little King's Story, Pikmin 2, Call of Duty World at War, Guiter Hero World Tour, Mega Man 9, Super Mario RPG Legend of Seven Stars, Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Legend of Zelda Link to the Past, Super Mario World, Super Mario 64 and FAST Racing League.
Bronze- Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles, Just Dance, Rabbids go Home, Mario and Sonic Winter Olympics, EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis, MADWORLD, House of the Dead Overkill, Animal Crossing Let's Go to the City, Raving Rabbids TV Party, Disaster Day of Crisis, Tetris Party, Bomberman Blast, LEGO Indiana Jones, Lost Winds, Wii Fit, Dragonball Z Something ot other 3, Zack and Wiki, Guitar Hero 3 Legends of Rock, Super Mario Brothers 3, Sin and Punishment, Paper Mario, Sonic 2, F-Zero X, Streets of Rage 2, Lylat Wars, Mario Kart 64, Super Mario Brothers, Gunstar Heroes, Donkey Kong Country, Conduit 2, Wii Play Motion.

In the next couple of posts we'll be looking at this data and what it might mean but in the first instance just looking at the above games and score ranges they've been placed in it's easy to see that angry internet men cannot be trusted. Theories and rhetoric based on hype and previews, gut instinct and impressions. The Nintendo channel data comes from people who have actually played the games so we can skip special pleading and bullshit for once to look at consumers. The people.

Mega Man Legends 3 Cancelled

Thank. God..

Nobody likes Mega Man.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Video feed

When we can't play games, read games or think about games in our head we find time to watch videos of games. Watching game vids is a tireless pursuit. For every fun and interesting video out there, there are hundreds of poorly edited, humourless, boring and idiotic videos. Here's what we've been watching recently.

Two Best Friends Play.
Yes games can be thought provoking, worrying, scary, addictive, intriguing and brilliant. A lot of the time though they are stupid and embarrassing. The tropes of games aren't something to be mourned though! it is where the source of fun can come from. In a world where online grimfest shooters seem to be how our community mostly interacts, Two Best Friends play reminds us of happier times of goofing around whilst playing games with your buddy on the couch. The video above is our favourite of the series but all the others are worth watching.

Fail of the Weak
We're big Halo fans here. Oh yeah, sure it's popular so lets rip into it but what makes Halo really stand out is the tools it gives it's players. It develops a relationship with the players. it lets them upload stuff and download stuff and create stuff. Alongside Bungie's commitment to "giving" halo to it's players have been Rooster Teeth. First there was Red Vs Blue, then Griff Ball and now Fails of the Weak. It's worth watching the whole series because a) Some crazy things happen and it makes you realise how robust that game engine is b) It highlights the sheer dedication of players to pore over their match replays to spot some of this crazy stuff c) The commentary makes you feel happy about games, particularly when they laugh really hard which is a nice change from the moaning and bitching that goes on a lot.

Tats and Caps
Lastly, this caught me off guard when I beat the game with Jun and I have to admit I laughed out loud.

Fact Checking

Quote from Xbox CFO Dennis Durkin via EDGE Firstparty Xbox 360 releases "superior" to Nintendo or Sony's.
"I would ask you to go and look at some of your data, just to compare first party performance over the course of this lifecycle, because I think our first party performance in terms of quality bars and units per title this shift has been superior to our competition's"

If you click through you see he even goes on to claim sales per unit as well as quality to be reasons why Xbox 360 first party games are superior.

Well "quality" may be harder to assess but lets look at sales shall we? Here's a selection from the Nintendo Wii (all data from ever reliable wikipedia):

Wii Sports (76.76 million)
Wii Sports Resort (27.68 million)
Wii Play (27.38 million)
Mario Kart Wii (27.00 million)
Wii Fit (22.61 million)
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (21.94 million)
Wii Fit Plus (18.49 million)
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (9.48 million)
Super Mario Galaxy (8.84 million)

And for Xbox 360

Kinect Adventures (10 million as pack-in game for Kinect)
Halo 3 (8.1 million)
Gears of War (5 million may include PC numbers)
Gears of War 2 (5 million)
Fable II (3.5 million approx. worldwide)
Halo: Reach (3.3 million in North America)
Halo 3: ODST (3 million)
Uno (2 million)
Forza 3 (2 million)

"Superior" is a bit of a fucking stretch I'd say. In fact I'd say it was just wrong in terms of sales. However it might be that "our competition's" only refers to Sony in which case the Xbox 360 first party games have sold much better but if I was Dennis I'd be ashamed that a bundled game that only got a 61 on ever reliable metacritic is the best selling Xbox 360 game of this lifecycle. I'd keep that shit quiet.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What is Xbox Live Rewards?

So Xbox has brought out this new online. What what the hell does it do?

Well, out of curiosity i signed up, it tracks your most played games and gives stats on them.

There is also a reward point scheme, these seem to be septate from Microsoft points, in the same way that Tesco clubcard points are not real money. Other than that, you seem to be able to earn points based on renewing your membership to gold, or subscribing to sky player, oh and doing a survey about your "media" plans for summer. Right now there is no actual information on the types of rewards other than points.

So what is it for?

As far as I can see it's a glorified Clubcard, Nectar Point etc reward scheme, but with intangible  ways of collecting points, and also for undisclosed rewards.

It all seems a bit bollocks for now, especially since the "rewards" will only count from the point you signed up for it (being a XBLA subscriber since 2007 this bugs me)

Ah well lets see how it pans out, probably best to sign up for this sooner rather than later.

Love and "media" plans

Richie X

Friday, July 15, 2011

All Kinds of Wrong

According to this authentic looking website, a study by Doritos woman play computer games just as much as men. Some even prefer it to sex. But here's the best part:
Worryingly, one in five even admitted to regularly gaming in bed.
Shit. This could mean the end of the species. The mail also has the story but recently has changed "a shocking 49 per cent of women confess that they too are addicted to Internet games". to "a surprising.....". All around it is a fairly silly study and from the looks of it it is equating 'spend more time' to 'prefers'. In which case I 'prefer' waiting for the most unreliable bus in London to sex. These two media outlets also insinuate that it is fine for men to waste their life playing video games but not women. We've been trying to find the survey but it appears to involve having to go on some promotional facebook thing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Capcom vs Who?

We've picked up a copy of Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Ultimate All Stars Edition. The fighters include a team of Capcom characters who we all know and love from series like Darkstalkers, Onimusha and Quiz Nanairo Dreams. You know, Quiz Nanairo Dreams. Rainbow Colour village? You know. However, you may have wondered for the last year since it came out, what the hell is a Tatsunoko?

Well readers, we went to the British Library to do some research and discovered that Tatsunoko is a DC comic about seahorses who become people with super powers. Here's the bios of the Tatsunoko Set (the name of the super hero group).

Casshan Casshan also known as Casshern is a prick. Generic in every way. He thinks it is acceptable to dress like a power ranger in 2011.

Doronjo Doronjo falls over a lot. As a result we see her knickers. A lot. She can turn into a bat, which is unusual for a woman who used to be a seahorse.

Gold Lightan It is uncertain weather Gold Lightan was made before or after the Great War started. The Golden Age of Cybertron is named after him but it is also believed that he was built by the Decepticons to lead them in the War.

Ippatsuman God this is a lot of effort for this post. Ippatsuman is Casshan's brother or something. He is constantly getting stuck in door ways due to the stupid wings on his hat.

Jun the Swan Due to a total lack of imagination, Jun is named after a swan. A fucking swan. Her super powers include harassing ducks off of rocks that she wants to sit on.

Kajiin No Soki so he has to be careful in winter else he catch a chill.

Ken the Eagle Ken was born in Cheltenham, England. A good downhill skier, he narrowly missed out on the GB team for that event for the 1984 Games. To improve his chances to qualify for 1988, he moved to Lake Placid in the US to train and enter races of a higher standard; however, he soon found himself short on funds. To realize his Olympic dream he decided to switch to ski jumping for reasons of cost and easier qualification with no other competing British ski jumpers. Ken began jumping under the watchful eye of Chuck Berghorn in Lake Placid, NY, using his equipment though he had to wear six layers of socks to make the boots fit. Ken was handicapped by his weight—at about 82 kg (181 lb), more than 9 kg (20 lb) heavier than the next heaviest competitor—and by his lack of financial support for training—he was totally self-funded. Another problem was that he was very near sighted, requiring him to wear his glasses at all times, even though when skiing they fogged to such an extent that he could not see. Ken was informed of his qualification for the Games whilst working as a plasterer and residing temporarily in a Finnish mental hospital due to lack of funds for alternative accommodation (rather than as a patient). Ken first represented Great Britain at the 1987 World Championships, and was ranked 55th in the world and this performance qualified him, as the sole British applicant, for the 1988 Winter Olympics ski jumping competition. Ken was the best ski jumper in the United Kingdom, setting a British record of 73.5 m in one of his Calgary jumps in 1988.

Polimar Polimar discovered the Planet of the Pikmin and the Pikmin species. He works at Hocotate Freight. Olimar owns and captains his ship, the S.S. Dolphin. He has a family (wife, son and daughter) on Hocotate.

Tekkaman Tekkaman is the hero of the Space Night Tekkaman series.

Cadjaman Cadjaman never buys his own fucking cigarettes. I'm serious man. He should buy his own or just give up.

So now you know. Tatsunoko vs Capcom in stores last year! So probably not in stores this year! Probably on ebay for £5, £2 with jizz stains and no book! Buy it today!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Understanding Gamerish: PC games.

Gamers rule the internet. It is a fact. Non gamers may spend a lot of their time on the internet but gamers spend all their time on the internet. This is why whenever you google anything, something game related appears around page 4. Page 20 is nothing but gifs from games.

So we're basically a cult that rules the internet and we use a secret language to wage persistent and futile war against each other in silly arguments with no stakes whatsoever. Here's the first in a no doubt successful, frequent and long running series.

PC Games. PC games means all PC games except the ones that come free with computers, games you play on social networking sites, flash games, promotional games, virtual versions of board games, virtual versions of card games or all that shovelware. "PC games" specifically refers to games with elves, simulators, shooty men or games where you have to click on a base. Which accounts for roughly <1% of games you can play on a PC. When referring to PC games you have to pretend that they are somehow under threat or on the verge of going extinct despite the fact that they are by far the biggest group of games that have ever existed.

Friday, July 08, 2011

That Guy's Interviews: Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite

We've managed to scoop another exclusive, this time we interview Elizabeth from the upcoming game Bioshock Infinite.

TG: Congratulations on getting cast to play Elizabeth in this award winning franchise. Bioshock Infinite takes the series to the skies. Was working with heights a problem for you?
E: Oh god. ONE OF MY EYES IS BIGGER THAN MY MOUTH. Where is my stomach supposed to be? Of fuck, I don't have a stomach. Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit

TG: Was it difficult playing a 20 year old character (Elizabeth's real age is 12)?
E: I can't breathe. I can't breathe. My head is as wide as my waist. Who made me like this? Why is my neck so long? {Elizabeth begins to hyperventilate}.

TG: Now that you've been cast a a female character in a PC game are you looking forward to people uploading drawings of you having sex with various people and things? Including possibly that woman from Half Life 2?
E: Ppplease. Kill. Me?

TG: Tell us about that awful fringe you were sporting in many of the screen shots. Were you happy sporting such an awful fringe? Why won't that fringe just die?
E: Why are my breasts so......Big?

TG: Thanks for taking the time out of a no doubt busy schedule to talk to us Elizabeth. Bioshock Infinite is out in the future on computers. It'll get a 7, 8 or 9 out of ten or something.

About Right

Thursday, July 07, 2011

What am I?

I don't have cover based shooting.
Or a morality system.
Or motion controls
I don't try to push shitty 3D on you because I know that it just ruins games/films/tv/everything
I won't make you sit through an unskippable cutscene over and over
Or hours of updates every time you just want to play a game
I'm not a sequel
Or a remake
Or a wiimake
Or a demake
Or a film/book/theme park ride adaptation
Or an iPad mutant
I don't tell everyone through twitter or facebook every time you queef
I don't have anyone making utterly unrealistic hyped claims on my behalf which ultimately never transpire
My ladies walk around with their breasts covered and their front or back bulges centre shot
My men aren't stubbled, chisled or maverick
I don't demand you to upgrade your graphics card/desktop wallpaper/boyfriend in order to play me
I don't subject you to the lowest form of humans through online play
I don't have version exclusive characters or weapons you can only pay for
I'm not violent
I'm not specifically family oriented
I don't have mini games, achievements or unlockables
I don't require you to buy yet another peripheral or add on
I haven't introduced a revolutionary new feature which will be dropped in a year when everyone gets bored
I've been written by somebody who has actually read a hard backed book. Without pictures in it.
What am I?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

FAST Racing League

We've always got a bit of time for a downloadable game on the console that may actually be alright. sure, juggling the games and channels on the Wii between an SD card and the hard drive can be tedious but it goes to show that if you give people the tools to make their own games, five years later there might be one or two worth playing. With all the E3 hype it might have been easy to miss generically titled FAST Racing League but we're glad we gave it a download. FAST Racing League takes 'inspiration' from N64's Pod Racer, Wipeout and we imagine that FX racing series but we were never a fan of that. There's only twelve tracks but it is blisteringly fast, hard as nails and comes with two or four player split screen multiplayer. Not bad considering that this £7 download is more fun than most racing games in recent years (Motorstorm 3, 4, 5? was awful but that may have just been the 3D experience). I will say that it is a bit soulless and when you are whizzing around the tracks at umpteen miles an hour it doesn't feel like there is more to the games' universe than 12 tracks stuck out in the middle of the desert/snowy mountain.

Worth a try definitely, even if the Wii is now a 'legacy' platform. Seriously. Can we not wait until the next console is out before we wind down coverage? ONM in particular (the free gifts are ace alright) seem happy to preview Wii-U games and 3DS games more than cover platforms that are, you know, really popular and actually out. Stupid games industry.

The new EDGE

EDGE has had a redesign. Here's what we think of it in an EDGE style Continue/Quit thing:

- Post Script The new 'post script' bit at the end of reviews. Before, they'd hype up a game in preview then review it for the rubbish it was the month after in reviews. Now they just do both together. I wonder how long before devs and producers stop giving these interviews if a game gets a six (gaming's 3).
- No more Kroal!? Hoo. Ray.
-Spinal For a second we thought the quote on the inside editorial staff page was gone. For a second we were wrong.
- Aspirational Reading Finally a gaming magazine its fine to read in public and look like a metro sexual wanker rather than a gaming one.
- People, Places, Things A great idea.

- Alexander the not so great Leigh Alexander has a column. We like what she's trying to do but her writing has taken a holier than thou aspect of late. That and she links to music on her blog like a music waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanker. We want the old Leigh back please.
- Randy Smith Still has his advertorial column unfortunately. I can't work out if his column in E229 is being ironic or just inane. His Tiger Style buddy Theron Jacobs is just as bad.
-Region Specific Finland. Again?
- WiiWhere? So are we pretending the Wii never existed now?
- Full Spectrum Warrior Oh wow another grim FPS shooter with a number after it. How, shall we say, creative?